As top rice producer, Ilocos Norte turns P4M richer

The Province of Ilocos Norte was adjudged for the second time as one of the Top 12 Agri-Pinoy Rice Achievers in the country for attaining high rice self-sufficiency in 2013.

Launched in 2011 by the Department of Agriculture, the search for Agri-Pinoy Rice Achievers awards aims to encourage the full support and participation of Local Government Units (LGUs), Irrigators’ Associations (IAs), Small Water Impounding Systems Associations (SWISAs) and Agricultural Extension Workers (AEWs) as well as to recognize their efforts and contribution in prioritizing rice-related projects, using quality seeds and appropriate technologies for attaining high rice sufficiency in the Philippines.

According to Provincial Agriculturist Norma Lagmay, the province of Ilocos Norte was awarded a trophy and a check worth P4 million by Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala and National Rice Program Coordinator and acting Undersecretary for Field Operations Dante S. Delima during ceremonies held last Friday, March 14 at the Resorts World Manila.

Meanwhile, Laoag City and the municipality of Vintar also landed in Top 48 Rice Producing Cities and Municipalities. Both received a cash prize of P1 million-worth check each.

“Behind the outstanding performance of the province are outstanding personalities,” Lagmay said, referring to the 12 National Outstanding Extension Workers from Ilocos Norte and Laoag City who received P20,000 each.

Among the AEW awardees were Provincial Agriculturist Norma Lagmay, Provincial Rice Coordinator Dra. Lus Tabora, Laoag City Agriculturist Oscar Recta, Josephine Aljon of Laoag City, Generosa Blas and Ofelia Agbayani of Vintar, Menchie Tolentino and Celestina Rivera of Bacarra, Merilyn Gappi and Manama Ganon of Batac, San Nicolas Municipal Agriculture Officer Norma Calamayan and Rachel Aguilar.

Lagmay said the province’s P4 million prize will be used to purchase hybrid seeds and fertilizers in order to sustain the province’s rice production and gradually cut the province’s dependence on rice importation.

Although 1.65% lower than the yields in 2012 due to typhoon damages, the 286% rice sufficiency recorded in Ilocos Norte for 2013 surpassed the target production of the province by 183%.

Stressing the agricultural advantage of the province in boosting the provincial economy during her State of the Province Address (SOPA) in 2013, Governor Imee Marcos urged the farmers to continue achieving sustainable rice production as part of the overall transformational growth of Ilocos Norte.

Other winning provinces include Pangasinan, Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Kalinga, Bulacan, Laguna, Bukidnon, Lanao Del Norte, North Cotabato and Mindoro Occidental.—Jennifer T. Pambid, PGIN-CMO